RMD is developing a safe, inexpensive, and easy to operate lead detector for retailers and consumers that can reliably
detect dangerous levels of lead in toys and other household products. Lead and its compounds have been rated as top
chemicals that pose a great threat to human health. However, widespread testing for environmental lead is rarely
undertaken until lead poisoning has already been diagnosed. The problem is not due to the accuracy or sensitivity of
existing lead detection technology, but rather to the high expense, safety and licensing barriers of available test
equipment. An inexpensive and easy to use lead detector would enable the identification of highly contaminated objects
and areas and allow for timely and cost effective remediation. The military has similar needs for testing for lead and
other heavy elements such as mercury, primarily in the decontamination of former military properties prior to their
return to civilian use.
RMD's research and development efforts are abased on advanced solid-state detectors combined with recently patented
lead detection techniques to develop a consumer oriented lead detector that will be widely available and easy and
inexpensive to use. These efforts will result in an instrument that offers: (1) high sensitivity, to identify objects
containing dangerous amounts of lead, (2) low cost to encourage widespread testing by consumers and other end users
and (3) convenient operation requiring no training or licensing. In contrast, current handheld x-ray fluorescence
spectrometers either use a radioactive source requiring licensing and operating training, or use an electronic x-ray source
that limits their sensitivity to surface lead.